Gàidhlig / English
Gàidhlig Alba Nuadh (Àireamh 2): Beathaichean, an t-Sìde agus Faclan Measgaichte

Gàidhlig Alba Nuadh (Àireamh 2): Beathaichean, an t-Sìde agus Faclan Measgaichte

Posted by Calum on 14th February 2019
We had a look at words and phrases of the Gaelic dialects in Nova Scotia before and I want to tell you a bit more about them. In this blog we will be speaking about animals, trees and fauna, the weather, food and other words.

In terms of the names of animals and birds you will find that they are very simlar to names we have already but with a slightly different meaning for some of them. For example, a robin is called a smeòrach — instead of ‘thrush’. Some of the names are similar to names already in other areas of Scotland, such as madadh ruadh being the word for fox in Islay, maigheach for rabbit in Killin and Perthshire and màgan for toad in Srathspey. There are names for creatures that we do not have in the Old Country, such as sgung, it is clear enough what it is!

Regarding words of the forest, they have the word spruis where we have giubhas in Scotland. Perhaps this comes from the differences of trees we have in our different, respective countries. The word spruis is used for saying something is quite bad. This is from the time when the Gaels came to Canada to find the land was covered with an abundance of spruce which hindered the cultivation of the land. That is how the Canadian Gael would have started to use the word spruis for anything bad.

The word droighneach is connected somewhat to sprùis in the sense of a plant found on the land that was not useful and made it difficult to cultivate, the bracken. The meaning changed from ‘bracken’ to ‘rubbish’. Droighneach is the common word in some areas for rubbish today in Nova Scotia but you could use it for anything useless; like a person or a device, such as what is recorded in the archive. The word ‘gutramaid is used for rubbish as well. The word coille-dhubh is used for fields and parks that were burned for cultivation close to Am Baile Mòr, The Big Town (Antigonish).

In terms of weather-related words and nature there are many words that are similar to words we have in the Old Country but some of them have different meanings. For example, the word soirbheas in Scotland (North Uist in this case) means a gentle wind, but in Nova Scotia it takes place of wind in general. The word ceò neimh is recorded for a mist that you see on water before it freezes. I heard An dèigh mhòr from a friend from Nova Scotia, perhaps it is related to winter when, for example, ‘Loch Bras d’Or’ freezes over. It is lèig that you will find in Nova Scotia as well as loch, therefore you coul also say ‘Lèig Bras d’Or’ that you could say.

Right, the crux of the matter. Food. The cooking isn’t that different from cooking from the Old country, but you could find different names for some of the foods. They have Bannocks in Nova Scotia as well, and we have two types of them in our Corpas as well — bonnach-buidhe agus bonnach-dorcha) — but I have heard that bonnach often means soda bread. A fishcake is a bonnach-èisg.

Finally, with miscellaneous words the word poidhle is used for a lump or mound. A bòcan is said for something other than a taibhse or a manadh, where one would say “bòcan” in Strathspey. It is not the spirit of a dead person but a spirit that makes noises and the likes in the night. A friend informed me on an article about the ‘Noonday Demon’ on Wikipedia that you will find very interesting.

That is it from me. If you have any other words from Nova Scotia and the Old Country as well, let us know. And if you have any other ideas for another blog similar to this one then let us know on facebook or twitter! Have a look at An Drochaid Eadarainn and Cainnt Mo Mhàthar for interesting and useful sound files of Gaelic in Nova Scotia.

I would like to give a sincere thank you to Kathleen Reddy for her assistance help and patience with the the notes and information of the blog and the previous blog as well, thank you so much!
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An Drochaid Eadarainn: www.androchaid.ca/
Cainnt Mo Mhàthar: www.cainntmomhathar.com/
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